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Russian Meteorite Traveled 11 Miles Per Second, Exploded With Incredible Force

by Brandon Russell | February 22, 2013February 22, 2013 10:00 pm PDT


Please come out from your Armageddon bunker. The world isn’t coming to an end, though Earth did get pummeled by a meteorite last Friday. NASA estimates claim the event was the largest rock—possibly 10,000 tons—in more than 100 years, and that it exploded with a force of 30 times the Hiroshima atomic bomb about 9 miles above sea level. No wonder it produced such an incredible sonic boom.

Other spectacular stats to ponder:

  • The meteorite was roughly 56 feet across—asteroid 2012 DA14 was about 150 feet.
  • It traveled at about 11 miles per second, or 40,000 miles per hour.
  • Windows typically shatter when air pressure exceeds around five times normal. The sonic boom released by the Chelyabinsk meteorite cause air pressure to reach roughly 10-20 times the normal range.
  • Just before the bolide, the rock became brighter than the sun and then disintegrated.

Scientists still maintain the DA14 asteroid had nothing to do with the events over Russia, but it sure is a mighty coincidence. Considering the amount of damage the meteorite caused, it’s a good thing it disintegrated before impact, otherwise there may have been a much different outcome.


Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...